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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 1999 4:52 am 
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Sacco brings up a good point relative to Zen meditation.

Siddle writes that among warrior groups there are unquestioned peak performance zones.
Survivors of sword duels and face off gunfights “had their movements and impulses under perfect control, no stress of danger, no matter how great or close, interfered with their positive moves, properly controlled, correctly timed, and accurately directed.” __Siddle

Samurai warriors did practice Zen meditation, but gunfighters of the old west, such as Wyatt Earp or Bat Masterson, did not; yet they were equally effective when facing death!
And so the argument goes back to “natural selection process”!

According to Siddle, the scientific physiology of this dilemma still remains somewhat elusive!
“ The Warrior’s Edge” is an excellent text reviewing new age learning techniques including, martial arts training and the warrior’s mind set! Yet nothing conclusive on the Zen aspect or it would have been implemented heavily by the professional sports coaches and psychologists as well as by the lethal force trainers of swat teams and the like!

Yet there is no denial that such a highly tuned mind state does exist in some individuals!
Such individuals have been found to possess extreme confidence, a sound perspective on the value of life [including taking someone’s else’s life], strong religious faith, daily reflections on death, [samurai], emotional/ artistically refinement and deeply rooted belief systems well adjusted much before the presence of death makes itself known!

However, it is hard to argue that the presence of death or grievous injury, financial and legal nightmares and psychological complications in today’s society, would not have a very profound effect on performance, regardless of any mind conditioning!



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Van Canna


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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 1999 5:33 am 
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Hello All:

A lot of things concerning stances appear to be "trade offs".

Duelists with pistols adopted "bladed" stances to reduce target area (in 'formal' duels) There, again, the rules and format were structured.

Sanchin may have a large hidden advantages:

It is fairly hard, I think, to "throw" one when in Sanchin, if the quality of his stance is not "robotic" but "dynamic", and if his balance (break focus) has not been disrupted.

By presenting the "obvious" open target, it makes available a transition to bladed as a "fade away" or "neutralize" tactic as a naturl response and does not announce this possible intention to the attacker.


Just some basic thoughts.


JOHN T.




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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 1999 5:45 am 
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Interesting point. Squared off stances also make drawing much easier and T-stances, or "fade away" blade stances possible. Both great defensive manuevers.

-Collin


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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 1999 6:31 pm 
One slight thought...it appears to me that part of the pre-fight posturing that both humans and animals do, is an attempt to read the opponent's ability/weakness. By facing forward, I have not indicated what my stronger/weaker side is. Also, I believe that turning your stance sideways is an un-written though universal sign that you are ready to fight. That as long as you are facing forward prior to the fight, your attacker will unconciously give you a longer time before their first strike. Then, by forcing my opponent to attack first while I am facing forward, allows me to pick up on their weaker side and to block either high or low. Like I said just a though...

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Shelly


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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 1999 7:55 pm 
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Wow! Wonderful thread...

In Chinese systems, stances are known as bo, which actually translates closer to step.

My point? I think many of the "bladed" (a term I'd not heard before) or sideways postures found in other systems were never intended to be used as static postures, but were instead, positions to move to in order to avoid an attack while preparing your own attack.

Tony Blauer points out that in a real combat situation, adopting some kind of obvious fighting posture (and a bladed stance is very obvious) will often cause your opponent to experience and adreniline dump! The last thing I think any of us desire is to give our opponent more adreniline than he may already have.

By contrast, the Sanchin posture is very close to a natural stance, and can be easily adopted/concealed as such. This suggests that it was developed as a true stance...a posture from which one is prepared to move/attack without telegraphing your intention. Without a doubt, a very combat oriented position.


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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 1999 4:21 am 
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GOOD THREAD;

Through out history you will find that when two armys meet, a clash or melee is never the result. If two sides where to charge each other at full speed, before the meeting one side will always turn and run. It has been proven in combat through out ancient history that most deaths occured from being speared in the back. The Greeks created the phalanx to compensate for this. The peer preasure from behind kept you marching toward the enemy, Uechi-ryu created sanchin to keep you in the fight mindset rather than the flight. It has been my experence that by fighting in the bladed stance you are more likely to break down mentally, turn run and be speared in the back.

steve
~~~~~


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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 1999 4:49 am 
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Another combat aspect that I'd like to address is the 'gaze' that is taught and nurtured within our kata.
"Look at nothing - see everything". How many times have we heard and repeated this paradox while performing and teaching a kata class? Sounds like a bunch of David Carradine baloney to the novice and to be quite frank it sounded like a bunch of baloney to me for many years after I passed the novice ranks.

This Mushin, a completely focused but slightly distorted gaze that accompanies the proper performance of kata made sense to me only after looking at our forms from a combat perspective. As a matter of fact, everything changed about the way I viewed our forms when I adopted a more pragmatic approach to them.

Musashi briefly touched on 'the gaze'in his 'Book Of Five Rings', but I think what he said lost something in translation. He said, "If you fix your eyes on these places (face, hand, sword, feet etc.)your spirit can become confused and your strategy thwarted." He went on to say however what I view now as the single most important reason for the 'gaze' being cleverly inserted into the teaching of our kata.

"When you are accustomed to something,you are not limited to the use of your eyes... you can see naturally"
(The Wind Book)

Hmmm...

When you ask a police officer who has been involved in a shooting, "Did you see the sights?" In almost all cases the answer is "no". The officer will often have a complete recollection of the events, albeit spatially and time frame distorted, but he or she will have no memory of seeing the sights.

On the shooting range we spend countless hours teaching, sight picture - sight alignment- trigger control, and for what?
Well we expect that the shooters will maintain better control of the shots and be able to place them where they intend to. By having a good sight picture and proper sight alignment, all we have to do is keep the gun steady when we pull the trigger, Right?
It definately works that way in static competiton shooting. This is where the Weaver stance was created. An intense monocular view of the front side with the head slightly canted, both arms dynamically opposing each other, one pushing, one pulling will guarantee a nearly perfect placement on the target. We have seen that this is true at the highest levels of competition shooting.

So why is it that when we are in a real gunfight, most of us will square off and few of us will remember seeing the sights even if we have been trained to shoot out of Weaver and to focus intensely on the front sight?
Well,I think it's plain to see that real difference between target shooting and combat shooting is nothing more than the level of stress.

Van Canna has refered to Siddle's book, "Sharpening the Warriors Edge". I would recommend it to all who are interested in the latest definitive information on the topic of combat performance. Siddle, among other things, has spent a lot of time with Dr. Hal Breedlove who has done extensive study on the eye's reaction to combat stress. He concludes that when the sympathetic nervous system is engaged the eye physically changes its optical shape and begins to lose its ability to focus. The sympathetic nervous system has such an incredible effect on the eye that the idea of maintaining a clear sight alignment while under this stressful episode is determined to be purely fiction. That's why cops under combat stress don't remember seeing the sights. They are not physically able to!

To further shatter the myth of the bladed stance being superior under combat stress Siddle argues that since humans are binocular there is a natural drive to square the head to the threat. The bladed stance encourages a dominant eye, limiting the amount of information tha the brain can receive. Both eyes are needed to receive maximum information in order to survive the threat. In saying this it should also be pointed out that the body will simply not allow one eye to close as many have suggested is the proper method of sighting a weapon. How many of you have been trained in the one eye method? How many of you continue to teach it?

All of this supports our earlier discussion of why the organism behaves the way it does while under the stress of a real fight. These are innate survival instincts which likely predate the development of the neocortex, responsible for spending so much time considering and debating these matters.

So there you have it. I think our katas are designed for the battle based upon man's many years of observed reactions to combat stress. In summary, the body squares, we move forward, and our eyes adopt the 'gaze'. All of which are ordinarily reserved for highly stressful encounters, onset by the sympathetic nervous system. Our movements and our attitudes mimic these characteristics in order to prepare us for the day when we may have to defend our own life or the life of someone else. Operating under the stress induced physiological state of mind and body should not impair the well trained and well practiced Uechi kata performer.

In our kata we are left with a legacy of combat tactics that go beyond the obvious physical manuevers. We practice to see nothing, but instead, under stress we see all because through our practice "we have become accustomed to something and are not limited by the use of our eyes."

Best Regards,

Roy


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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 1999 12:04 pm 
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Roy San,

Very well put sir!

We practice what is sometimes referred to as Dead Eye or Gaze, but more aptly described as gazing (not focusing) at center mass. This way the entire body motion can be read but not as easily drawn by a fake or feint or stress. We are taught to deal with center mass for defense and only deal with arms and legs at more advanced levels (and most importantly only through touch).

During all our reactions drills and Kata we try to get the practioner to also unfocus the eye, or squint tightly which severely impeeds periferral vision, (a dual purpose simulates getting sweat or debris in the eye or just keeping them readied for eye jabs). This was taught to me for practice on the wooden dummy so that sight was not relyed on as it is false and misleading (also confusing, too much to look for and what you look for never comes what you don't look for always does).

Getting back to Kata we try to get the student to gaze but turn the head with the entire centerline of the body for focused and reponsive ability. This is something that must be added to each Kata as this is the practice time that will allow one to use it in personal interaction as well. The body dosn't respond accurately or well in 2 directions under fast or stressful response (read: fine motor skill), but rather moves as a whole.

In Kempo and Wing Chun the hands move so fast during some training drills that any attempt at watching motion quickly gets one confused and subsequently overwhelmed (hit several times).

Hitting points is also done (in the beginning with sight) eventually with intuition due to continual targeting. Accuracy does increase but only if you begin to rely on the intuitive method. As motion speeds up, the eye which is slower than the hand, looses it's ability to follow, (much like the use of the sight gets put aside).

Now all of this must be worked by the individual, those unable to focus on the moment in the Dojo are the ones destined to go down in real conflict.

------------------
Evan Pantazi
www.erols.com/kyusho




[This message has been edited by Evan Pantazi (edited 08-17-99).]


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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 1999 12:59 am 
Interesting thread, but I have a few comments\questions.

first--what styles use the "bladed" stance? I occasionally used to use it in kumite, (Shotokan style), but that was I was playing Bruce Lee movie moves, not because it was taught in the style. The basic sparring stance we used was like sanchin but with both feet pointing straight ahead and the heel of the back foot raised. Shoulders were almost square, (this is not unlike the sparring stance that black belts at the Uechi dojo I trained at used--and not that different from the fighting stance Bruce Lee showed in his books--as opposed to his movies).

In both Shotokan and Shorin Ryu (as I learned them, however imperfectly that may be) the stances are pretty much square except at the end of certain techniques. For example. in Heian Sandan and Jitte, you do techniques that step into kiba dachi where you are "bladed", but that is because you've just done something that puts you in that position (my personal bunkai for those is a judo-like throw, but that is irrelevant).

Second, UechiRyu is not unique in not retreating in kata. In fact, I was always amused that minnows in my first dojo were always taught to move backward while blocking, while all the katas had us moving forward into the attack--go figure.

The main weakness, by the way, of the bladed stances is that, while it may reduce the profile presented to the opponant, it opens up the kidney as a target. More than that, it allows the oppanant to get outside the range of the peripheral vision (especially when the chem-cocktail causes tuneel vision).

I wouldn't infer too much about the zen-like qualities of gunfighters like Wyatt Earp and the like. Showdowns happpen a lot more in the Movies than they did in real life. I erad on ehostorial who said that most losers in gunfights in the old west died of wounds to their backs. Yake that however you want to, but I take stories of the gunfighting prowess of old west gunslingers about as seriously as I take the martial arts in a Chuck Norris movie.

Last, I have a personal theory that kata (no matter what the style) has less to do with teaching tactics than it does with teaching proper mechanics, (I think kata is multi-leveled, but I also believe that there is a hierarchy of levels of meaning at the top of which is pure body mechanics. That is why I am a little disilluione with Shotokan katas and why I practice Uechi Ryu and Shorin Ryu katas almost exclusively--they are less diluted and have not been modified to remove and thus still have the body mechanics built in.)

Sorry to ramble, but just a few thoughts.

carry on,

maurice


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maurice richard libby
toronto/moose jaw
Ronin at large


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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 1999 3:29 am 
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While it is true that most gunfights / showdowns of the old west are a figment of the imagination, it cannot be denied that there were some fearsome men in those days whose real life exploits are well documented! It is also a real fact of life that some men possess an innate “nerve” under pressure of life or death ~ above the “average” person!

Agencies seeking candidates for specialized police and military units have their own methods to select the “wheat from the chaff”! Some friends I have, who are in the FBI and the BATF tell me of some interesting ways those agencies employ to choose the resolute aspirant!

Jim Cirillo, the modern day gunfighter, survivor of 17 deadly armed showdowns with armed robbers while on the stake out team of the NYPD, also used a special selection process for would be police gunfighters! He relates that there are some people who are loaded with self-confidence and who seem to achieve perfection in everything they do if trained correctly to start with! I personally have seen the same correlation in the martial arts!

Roy makes an excellent point relative to your eyes in combat!
The best “reactive” shooters always shoot with both eyes open!

Jim Cirillo teaches an alternate sighting technique within the 10 yards “imminent death zone”
Which he calls the “geometric point”, the weapon held parallel to the ground and perpendicular to the shooter’s body, the elbows locked in a Sanchin position; the gun held at center mass height! He always hits whatever target he is looking at, both eyes open, without engaging the sights or the silhouette of the gun! Outside the “ death zone” he teaches the gun silhouette method as opposed to sight acquisition!

He believes that if the subconscious has been trained correctly, it will take over in moments of great stress, infallibly and with great perfection!

Try as we will, there is no way to discount the natural selection process!

And that is a survival lesson to keep in mind, as most of the ruthless enemies likely to attack you in a street fight belong to this Alpha specie!


Lastly I am a firm believer that intensive kata practice not only refines body mechanics but also strengthens “resolute intent”! There is no mistaking of the “fighter’s intent” in the kata when you watch someone the caliber of Gary Khoury, Roy Bedard or Art Rabesa-sensei performing!

There is so much bull about the proper way to perform kata that is truly laughable at times!
You know, about the inner powers masked by the soft languorous plodding along; I have never seen any of those people amount to much in knock out competition or even prearranged play!

Take a good look at kata performance of, say, Art Rabesa and Bob Bethoney, and you will understand! Then watch them fight, sparring or real life!




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Van Canna


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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 1999 6:39 am 
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Maurice -

In response to your questions and commentary, I figured it was only a matter of time before someone challenged me on my obvious gross preference for Uechi Kata. I'm glad you opened this comparative discussion because I think this encourages us to hear from other stylists who can share some of their assets and liabilities with the group. I feel that this is in line with our progressive step into the world arena. It is true, I have been baiting you, and I am happy that you decided to take a bite. I hope others will chomp on this worm as well.

I'll offer my perspective on the styles which use bladed stances by first beginning with an expansion of the term 'Uechi' kata to include classical chinese/Okinawan kata and all other styles specificically influenced by these styles;Shotokan for instance. These systems are all in line with the combat attitude of kata performance, but it is clear to see that the farther away from Okinawa they get, the more "dilluted" they become - to parrot a statement you made in your post.

The 'new' karate, particularly that of American and Korean origin (Tae Kwon Do, American Kempo, etc.) have developed forms that are unique to their styles and as far as I can tell have very little if any root to the classical systems. You can tell by looking at these forms that they are not influenced by the mindset of the battle field but rather have been crafted through analyzing specific body movements in relation to opposing attacks and defense - absent the physiology of stress.

These styles do not teach to fight from stress induced body positions and in today's world that may in fact be best, depending on what you're after. Today's karate fights will likely occur in the ring under controlled circumstances. There fighters can face sideways, look at the opponents feet, hands,torso or eyes, move to the rear and use a cognizant strategy to plan each and every move.

It's a fact that most people today will live and die without ever being in a real fight. That is the nature of the 'civilized' society in which we live. Many of these same people will go to their graves, remembered as great fighters because they have left behind rooms decorated with medals and trophies portraying their 'martial' prowess. But hey, don't knock it.To not fight is best I think if given the choice.

Having said this, we cannot forget about those often overlooked modern warriors who are still in the business of fighting for real - like the soldiers and cops who live among us. If you are one of these, or if you teach one of these, then I think you need to see the martial arts from a more pragmatic perspective. I attribut my experience as a police trainer to the revelations I have had about our forms.

It's no wonder that non-combative systems (Korean and American) have evolved in the way that they have. Explaining a blading of the stance, a retreating defensive mindset and a specific visual placement is easy to do, easy to perform and makes perfect fighting sense from a theoretical perspective. It also allows one to score more points in a sport where speed always tops strength.

Okay - I'm done. Someone else join in.

Roy


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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 1999 8:39 pm 
Roy,

I was wondering of your post was flamebait Image.

I think one of the big factors in the de-emphasis of reality-based styles is the entertainment industry. Movies are obviously a big factor--actually, if you look at the older examples of martial arts fighting in Hollywood movies, you'll find much more realistic fight scenes (relatively speaking, since the more real the technique, the less photogenic it tends to be). All the high kicks, spinning techniques, etc, came later, especially after the kung fu craze of the seventies.

Which leads me to my second point. As part of the entertainment industry I include wu shu. The modern wu shu is as much gymnastics as martial arts, (this includes the " shao lin monks" who tour so regularly, I reckon), so the emphasis changes to aesthetics rathers than efficacy.

The third (and fourth) factors are professional boxing and wrestling. Boxing because, despite the fact that I have great respect for boxers, it is inherently unrealistic. For example--head hunting tactics with closed fists (with 10 oz, gloves), leads to essentially unrealistic tactics. Even Jeet Kune Do relies on boxing punches (read Bruce Lee's books).

Watch carefully the defensive tactics of boxing. The don't block the way karateka do, but rather put their fists up and let the gloves absorb the blows. Boxers often say that karate is unrealistic because all those blocks with your arms will tire you out. But take away the gloves and what do you have? You have your fists clenched an inch or two from your face. Try this: take a defensive boxing stance with your hands in front of your face, then let someone hit at you with a palm heel strike. What happens? (Here's a hint how do you get someone to knock themselves out?)

The other flaw with boxing is that defensive tactics don't really extend below the waist. Not that I'm putting boxing down, but it is a sport, and sport has rules, and tactics for that sport are based on the rules . The medium is the message, after all.

The best martial artists I've known base their arts on reality. Tak Kubota, for example developed his art from experience on the streets of post-war Japan. I can think of five or six people off hand who have actually incorporated empirical study into their arts. Mr. Canna is one.

I have to leave, my time on this computer is over. I'll try and continue later.

great discussion,
later,
maurice

------------------
maurice richard libby
toronto/moose jaw
Ronin at large


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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 1999 11:02 pm 
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Fascinating discussion indeed! Maurice you bring up some excellent points about boxing and blocking!

We have discussed before on this forum that the best way to train for the real thing is to ingrain a pattern which mimics the natural body motions of a person under the sudden siege of the “chemical dump” which has a nasty way of manifesting itself despite assiduous attempts to control it!

We talked about how Uechi-Ryu’s concepts lend themselves so naturally to the “twitches of the primal brain” but Roy has put it best in a manner that makes lots of sense!

Siddle relates that it was Cratty’s analysis which really brought to the fore the compatibility factor of natural body “skills” under stress, to survival training principles!

He identifies gross motor movements involving the large muscle groups, and recommends [for the purpose of imbedding survival skills], the practice of pushing and pulling events, anything with double appendage symmetry!

There you have it~ our beloved system, with “natural enemy orientation” performed with certain no-nonsense enhancements to achieve optimal performance from the adrenal kick which should be welcomed as a good friend!


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Van Canna


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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 1999 10:43 am 
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Maurice,

Can't disagree with you that there are aspects of boxing that is "unrealistic" but so is any "bloodsport" with rules. What does make boxing more real is that fact of hitting hard and being hit. One learns to deal with pain and fear of, a certain mindset is being developed. And, I think we all agree that mindset is probably the most important attribute in a confrontation.

I would still bet on a boxer on most days, in most situations, over many other "artists". Ah... but that just my personal biase having done my share of boxing... Image

david


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 Post subject: Combat Kata
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 1999 10:07 pm 
Van: I am going to have to read Siddle, for sure.

David,

I don't disagree with you, not really. For one reason, there are fewer dilletants in boxing, (unless youcount boxercise, in which case you'd have to match a boxerciser with a tae bo-ist Image ). Although, to make comparisons you have to know what you're comparing. Like I said once before, probably 90% of all the martial artists I've ever seen can't fight at all, and don't want to learn. Maybe 80% of all the boxers I've known love to fight. What I was talking about was the deficiencies of sport fighting, hence the reference to boxing gloves. And boxers are notorious for breaking their knuckles in real fights, partly because of the habit of wrapping their hands, which actually weakiens them, and partially because they spent most of their tactical thought to hitting the head with their fists. I go back to my (repeatedly repeated)opinion that sport (especially sports with rules) are a bad way to learn to fight.

yours,

maurice

------------------
maurice richard libby
toronto/moose jaw
Ronin at large


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